Ten Thousand Words

I have one unpublished manuscript completed. It’s called Striving After Wind, an historical fiction piece that tells how an ex-slave woman’s tragic relationship with a white game warden and a wealthy couple complicates her ability to leave northwest Indiana for the family she’s always wanted. From conception to completion, the story took about two years to write. Since I’m a newbie, I didn’t think that was a long time. Now, I’m starting to believe it was because it’s taken me a while to get those characters out of my system so I can focus on a new set.

So now I have a new idea brewing in my head. This time, I decided to set a goal after attending a workshop at American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in September. I didn’t want to spend another two years consumed with one manuscript, so I set a goal: to have an 80,000-word novel completed by July 2014. Midwest Writers Workshop is in July, so maybe I’ll have something worthy to pitch by then.

In the meantime, I’ve broken the 80,000 down into something my mind can handle: 10,000 words a month, or 2500 a week. So far, I’ve been hitting that weekly goal. I have a total of 6049 words so far on an untitled manuscript. I know. I should have more than that by now, but one week was spent chasing the idea for a sequel to Striving. Then I came to my senses. One thing at a time was better for my word count. But I think I can write another 4,000 in eleven days.

What’s been keeping me on track? Well, ACFW has a loop called Novel Track Writing. For a few months out of the year, members can post a goal, and then update the loop on progress. I thought I was doing something extraordinary until I saw some members’ goals and progress. Many of them are published authors using the loop to help them make a deadline. They have goals that will make your hair curl. Others have a ten-minute-a-day goal. Even these folks boast upwards of 500 words. Posts also include encouragement and prayer requests. The loop makes this solitary life, not so solitary.

Hopefully, I will make that 10,000 word goal for October. I’ve got a 2-day Fall Break coming up at the end of this week, so that should give me four days of writing without worrying about work (the work that pays the bills). If so, I’ll have established a solid writing routine that will get a manuscript (first draft, mind you) done in about 8 months.

As the Little Engine That Could Said: “I think I can.”


About Michelle McGill-Vargas

Michelle hails from Gary, Indiana where she enjoys writing historical fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. Her writings have appeared in "Lutheran Witness", "Splickety Magazine", "The Copperfield Review", and "Typehouse Literary Magazine." She served as vice-president of the Indiana Writers' Consortium. Until the day her historical fiction manuscripts get published, she pays the bills as a special education administrator with a background in deaf education. In October 2018, she will be a contributor to Concordia Publishing House's quarterly devotional series "Portals of Prayer." Visit her blog at www.michellemcgillvargas.wordpress.com
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7 Responses to Ten Thousand Words

  1. Carmelle says:

    Yes and we’re ready to read it!😉where did I get that from?

  2. Julie Perkins says:

    How’s the writing going, Michelle? You have a worthy goal, and I’m looking forward to reading the next section of chapter 1!

  3. Helen Brandt says:

    I’m impressed with your determination to write…it is a gift from God! Keep on with your dreams! Love, Helen

  4. jollymoments says:

    Wow! I loved this post. Thanks for sharing how you set your goals, ACFW and the Novelty Track. As an aspiring CFW this information is very helpful. I hope you are on track with your goals and completing your next manuscript!

    • Glad this post was helpful. So far, I’m on track, at least with my word counts for this week. It’s amazing how you can be on the brink of saying, “This writing thing must not be my calling in life,” and then words of encouragement bring you out of that. It’s almost like God tapping you on the shoulder. Even hearing from you is encouraging! Though I may never be a published, best-selling author (I’m not claiming that!), it’s nice to know I’ve written something, even through this blog, that touched somebody.

      • jollymoments says:

        I know what you are talking about. I have had those moments myself and God always sends someone to encourage me. I love your positive attitude and truly believe that I will see your book online or in the bookstore one day. One of my favorite scriptures says, “Blessed is she who believes that there will be a fulfillment of those things told to her by the Lord.” You definitely believe and therefore are truly blessed!

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